Arnold Schwarzenegger took over hosting The Apprentice franchise after Donald Trump quit to focus on his presidential bid. The Terminator actor now says he won’t be back to the show
- Arnold Schwarzenegger will not return to Celebrity Apprentice, star said Friday
‘Even if asked [to host it again] I would decline,’ Schwarzenegger told Empire
Blames Donald Trump’s producing credit for driving away sponsors and viewers
Five out the show’s 12 sponsors have confirmed they won’t renew their contracts
Departure follows Twitter feud between Trump and Schwarzenegger
‘Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,’ Trump boasted on Twitter in January
President also ripped into movie star at National Prayer Breakfast
Now Schwarzenegger blasts Trump for show’s declining ratings and sponsorship
‘Half the people’ boycotted show when they discovered Trump’s role, star says
Arnold Schwarzenegger will not return to The New Celebrity Apprentice for another season as host, putting another dagger in the TV franchise that still pays President Donald Trump a producer’s fee.
‘Even if asked [to do host again] I would decline,’ Schwarzenegger, who is 69, told Empire in an interview published Friday, confirming that the season concluded in February would be his last.
‘When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it.’
Questions about NBC’s Apprentice franchise, now in its 15th overall season, have swirled with the revelation this week that nearly half of the shows sponsors have pulled out, decisions that Schwarzenegger now confirms were linked to concerns over Trump’s involvement.
‘With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show,’ Schwarzenegger said. ‘It’s a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.’
Schwarzenegger and guest host Tyra Banks attend a Q&A for The New Celebrity Apprentice in December. With its low ratings, the future of the show was already in question
‘It’s not about the show,’ Schwarzenegger said in explaining his decision not to return. ‘Everyone I ran into came up to me and said “I love the show… but I turned it off because as soon as I read Trump’s name I’m outta there!”‘
As an executive producer (alongside Schwarzenegger and show co-creator Mark Burnett) Trump receives a fee from New Celebrity Apprentice, but it is said to be a purely honorary title with no creative role in the production.
‘NBC did everything they could to promote the show and Mark Burnett did a fantastic job,’ said Schwarzenegger. ‘No one really knew that this was going to happen and I think that everyone was caught off guard,’ he added, apparently referring to Trump’s presidency.
‘I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett. Everyone — from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department — was straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage,’ the star elaborated in a statement to Page Six.
‘I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity,’ Schwarzenegger said. ‘But under the circumstances I don’t want to do it again’
Trump, who hosted fourteen seasons of The Apprentice franchise, departed after launching his presidential bid in 2015, amid rumors that NBS was seeking to cut ties over controversial remarks he’d made on the campaign trail
The show has not yet been renewed by NBC, and its future stands on shaky ground with the recent news that five out of the show’s 12 sponsors have confirmed they won’t renew their contracts.
Celebrity Apprentice recently completed the franchise’s 15th overall season, and the eighth since the precursor show The Apprentice concluded
Sponsors Tyra Beauty, Lorissa’s Kitchen, Los Angeles Clippers, QVC and the Carnival Corporation have all pulled out, according to TheWrap. Each company provided the task for celebrity participants to complete in an episode, paying for the brand exposure.
However, none of the companies that have pulled out have explicitly said their decision was due to a campaign to boycott any company generates revenue for Trump, called #GrabYourWallet, which has been running since October.
The New Celebrity Apprentice’s fate was already in question after a shaky season that began with low ratings and never managed to find its footing.
The opening episode got 4.95 million viewers, and its finale pulled in just 3.5 million – both getting less than the last Trump-helmed episode of the show, which received 6.1 million viewers.
Overall the season had an average viewership of 4.9 million, considerably less than the previous season’s 7.6 million.
News of the first episode’s rocky start led to Trump making snide remarks about Schwarzenegger’s performance.
‘Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,’ Trump tweeted on January 6.
‘So much for being a movie star – and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1.’
Ex-California governor Schwarzenegger hit back on a Twitter video, saying ‘ Hey Donald, I have a great idea: Why don’t we switch jobs?
‘You take over TV because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job, so then people can finally sleep comfortably again.’
Trump later ripped into Schwarzenegger again while hosting a prayer breakfast, asking people there to pray for his ratings.
Although Trump his still an executive producer on the show, his people – spurred by talk of conflicts of interest – said that he has no creative involvement in the show.